Lens Comparison: Which walk-around lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by authoritee, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Lately, I've felt that I'm taking too much weight for some video shoots that don't really require it. My lens kit consists of many heavy lenses (Tokina 11-16, Canon 17-40, Canon 50 f/1.8, Canon 100 Macro IS, Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS), but for about 30% of my job assignments I only really use the Tokina 11-16 and the Canon 50 f/1.8. For this reason, I think I will be buying an "all-purpose" lens for these jobs, so that I can leave the heavy backpack at home. My options are these:
    Camera to be used on: Canon EOS 7D
    Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L
    USD$ 1,280
    Lens Filters: 77mm
    Effective Focal Length: 38.4-112mm
    Widest Aperture All-Throughout: f/2.8
    Image Stabilization: No.
    Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS
    USD$ 1,040
    Lens Filters: 77mm
    Effective Focal Length: 17-55mm
    Widest Aperture All-Throughout: f/2.8
    Image Stabilization: Yes. (3 Stops, allegedly.)
    Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS
    USD$ 720
    Lens Filters: 72mm
    Effective Focal Length: 15-85mm
    Widest Aperture All-Throughout: f/5.6
    Image Stabilization: Yes. (4 Stops, allegedly.)
    I've used the Canon 24-70 and I think it's great, having a fixed aperture and such a long focal length range, but I don't think it'll be wide enough for the 7D. I have never been able to try the other two lenses, so I don't really know how they feel and work. The Canon 17-55 has a fixed aperture that tempts me, but the Canon 15-85 has a longer focal length range, which is very appealing as well. I would like to know if these two lenses can really be compared quality-wise, and how controlled the barrel distortion is.
    What do you guys think, which one's the best option?
    Erwin Marlin.
  2. The 15-85mm looks like a winner to me. If you use the 11-16mm often then you're probably not willing to give up too much on the wide end. The 15-85mm is the widest of all three and covers the broadest range. Its also the most budget friendly of the three. If you want to keep the budget down, the older 17-85mm would be an option, or the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 if you needed a faster lens.
  3. From your list, the 17-55 is the winner. I have the lens and love it. it is sharp, and the 2.8 fixed is great. I take three lenses with me much of the time for travel and walk around with my 7D. the 17-55, the 10-22 and the 18-200, which is optional, depending on what I hope to photograph.
  4. 24 is not wide on a 75; it's roughly 'normal.' With respect to the other two: I have been mulling over the same choice (and some others), as a replacement for my 17-85, which is so-so. I'm curious to see if you get feedback from anyone who has used both.
    If you go here
    it looks like the two are reasonably similar in terms of resolution. It seems to me that the 15-85 has two advantages--overall range and wider at the short end (2mm matters at that end). It has two disadvantages--it's slow and has some vignetting issues (e.g., see http://www.the-digital-picture.com/reviews/canon-ef-s-15-85mm-f-3.5-5.6-is-usm-lens-review.aspx).
  5. Another vote for the 15-85. I have the earlier version (17-85) and it's still my most used lens on an APS-C body. Any relatively long zoom will have compromises, but these are easily fixed when they become obvious, which isn't often in normal shooting.
    I have a 24-105, and it's a wonderful lens, but too long for a "walkabout" on the APS-C sensors in my opinion-- it's made to do the same job as the 15-85/17-85 on the larger sensor. The reason I mention it is that the 24mm is simply a short "normal" focal length on the smaller sensor, and that applies to the 24-70 also.
  6. If weight is the issue, I think the 24-70/2.8 is out just on that basis. For reference,
    Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L - 33.5 oz
    Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS - 22.8 oz
    Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS - 20.3 oz
    Canon EF 17-40/4 - 16.8 oz
    Canon EF 50/1.8 - 4.6 oz.
  7. 17-55
  8. Just to point out your effective focal length numbers for the EFS lenses are wrong. The 17-55 works out to 27-88, and the 15-85 works out to 24-136.
  9. One thing to consider here is that the OP is asking for video use. For photography I would also suggest a 17-55mm f/2.8, but you can't change lenses in the middle of a video clip, so the broader range may be more beneficial than the faster aperture, or it may not.
  10. I started with the 17-85, then replaced it with the 17-55, and it was worth it. I keep a lens hood (not included, unfortunately) on it all the time and carry it in my (big) purse and it is ready for street shooting at a moment's notice.
  11. I just went through this same process. I initially bought a 24-105 for my 7D to use as a walk-around lens, for which it was actually superb. The wide end wasn't terribly wide, of course, but otherwise the lens is an outstanding optic and a joy to use. I also have a 17-40 which is pretty wide but has too short of a focal range, so in the end I opted for the 15-85. While the 17-55 is a constant f/2.8, its range is significantly shorter and the 15-85 is a first-class lens in just about every respect. The build quality is excellent and the performance of the lens is equally excellent. It yields great color and is also quite sharp. Check out the review of this lens and the comparison to the 17-55 at the-digital-picture.com and see what you think after reading it. Suffice it to say, my 24-105 hasn't been back on my 7D since purchasing the 15-85; it stays on my 1vHS.
  12. I find that my 24-70 F2.8 rarely gets used on my 7D although I use it a lot on full frame (or APS-H). The 16-35 F2.8 II is the lens that gets used a lot on my 7D so I would suggest that you need to go with something wider than 24mm
  13. For video? I know its the big new thing in DSLRs, but its going back to the 80s in terms of video technology. And its just a gimmick to lure new buyers into upgrading.
    You think fine jpegs or nef files use up your memory card quickly? Just try video at full resolution. The compromises are too great for the AF system for a start. It might look good on paper but you'll find the AF continually hunting for something to focus on if you move around or the subject does.
    Get a camcorder thats designed to do the job, with a lens that has enormous depth of field. Get a 3 CCD model and be happy. You'll feel like James Cameraon in no time.
  14. I am used to slow zoom with typical f number of 3.5 to 5.6, But when I tried the 17-55 2.8 IS, There was no going back, I then just bought one. A superb lens, It even makes my 24-105 4L lens , feel slow. ( No offense to other 24-105 owners :)
  15. I have just added the Tamron 18-270 VC lens to my collection purely as a walk-around lens. So far I am very pleased with it. It has a good wide angle and of course it has image stabilisation which is needed at the longer focal lengths.
  16. "for about 30% of my job assignments I only really use the Tokina 11-16 and the Canon 50 f/1.8"
    That means that for 70% of your jobs you use other lenses. Personally for professional work I like to stick to my bread and butter lenses the 24-70mm and 70-200mm they cover about 90% of what I'm shooting, but they are bulky and heavy. For a walk around/travel lens I use the 24-105mm($250) it's light, compact relatively fast and relatively sharp, but I find that sometimes even the 105mm is not enough reach especially on a Full Frame.
  17. I don't see any reason to upgrade the 17-40 F4L. This is my favorite lens on my 30D and 5D Mark II. Light, smooth and has excellent color. I very seldom shoot video at F2.8 on 5D2 because the focusing is way too shallow. My number one lens for video hands down is the 17-40. If I need real low light or thin DOF I use my 50 1.8 or 85 1.2L. You might want to add an 85 1.8 to you kit which is pretty light. I have skipped getting the 24-70 F2.8 just too expensive. I went with the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 Di which is way smaller and lighter and takes just as good of pictures. If I neeed something better I switch to one of my primes. I don't see how replacing your great 17-40 L-series lens with a heavy non-L lens is an upgrade if you don't need the speed.

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